Despite being more than 100 year old, Danis is still one of the fastest growing companies in Dayton, nearly tripling its revenue from 2014 to 2019. The company works on many of the major projects in Dayton including the University of Dayton Arena, Caresource, Washington Prime Group redevelopments and other health, higher education, corporate, retail and industrial/manufacturing projects. A Danis crew works on the University of Dayton Arena.
Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

At 100-plus years old, Dayton construction firm says success comes from investing in workers

Being more than 100 years old doesn’t mean slowing down for one Dayton-based construction firm that’s nearly tripled its revenue since 2014.

From nearly $153 million in 2014 to almost $433 million in 2018, one of Dayton’s largest builders Danis Group of Companies has increased revenue by about 183%. Danis, which specializes in construction management, general construction and design, has also increased employment at its Dayton location by 91% since 2014 and 98% at all five of its offices, according to the company.

The business, with more than 720 employees at offices in Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Jacksonville, Florida and Raleigh, North Carolina, has been able to continue strong growth because of its investment in its workers, said Troy Erbes, senior vice president of Danis. The Dayton office alone has roughly 450 employees.

Erbes, along with many other members of the Danis team, started at the company as co-ops, he said. Then they became full-time employees.

“That’s really helped create the DNA and the attributes that we look for to help our clients solve the challenges and focus on their needs,” Erbes said.

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The company recruits from more than 20 universities and takes on more than 90 co-op students each year. They invest in the training process, offering more than 20 training modules across different skills to make well-rounded employees, a step ahead for Danis in the current economy’s skilled trade shortage, Erbes said.

Nick Eden, vice president of estimates, also started as a co-op in 1995. He worked through many different roles at Danis including project engineering, project managers and roles in estimation to his current role.

“That longevity is a benefit because the time that we spent putting into the younger folks, and then all the training modules that we have, really makes them better managers, better department heads for the future,” Eden said.

The company was also one of the earliest to recognize signs of recession before 2008 and a shortage in workers as the baby boomers began retiring, Erbes said. It has continued to grow because it’s been able to recognize changes in the business and adjust.

“We feel we have the most talented, skilled team in the area, and to be honest … the harder the job, the more we like it,” Erbes said.

Danis has also adjusted more quickly to changing technology in the industry and adapting a model where the firm works in a construction management role beginning with design and offering in-house modularization, he said.

“We can be a kind of one-stop shop approach for them,” Erbes said.

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Nurturing the staff also helps control quality and adds flexibility to schedules, a benefit for clients, Erbes said. Over 87 percent of business is repeat and some clients seek Danis’s services without asking other contractors for quotes.

“We have a pretty good history with repeat clients and I think that that goes a long way. That word of mouth eventually spreads, and our reputation in the industry, I believe, is top notch,” Eden said.

Danis is also unique in its ability to prefabricate, Eden said. It has its own workshop where it’s able to build components off the jobs site, which is controlled and away from weather variables.

For instance, Danis can pre-fabricate exterior walls. When building the walls on site, builders have to wait for the concrete to be in and skeleton to be up before starting the walls. When pre-fabricating, the company can build the walls to be ready as the steel framing is being constructed, Eden said.

“We just saw the need in the market that we have to be able to control cost and manpower better and we thought this was an opportunity for us to extend that to our clients to help them maintain that project schedule and budget,” Erbes said.

The opportunities for pre-fabrication and mobilization will continue to grow, as the company is only “scratching the tip of the iceberg” now, Eden said.

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“When I look at the pipeline, the economy, we’ve got $1 billion worth of projects we’re still tracking,” Erbes said.

At any given time, Danis generally is working on between $600 million and $700 million in projects. Some of its largest projects have a major impact on the community, Erbes said.

The company has done all of the construction and remodeling of the University of Dayton Arena and worked with local hospitals like the current Soin Medical Center addition in Beavercreek and Miami Valley South’s recently opened Comprehensive Care Center in Centerville. It’s working on the redevelopment of vacant department stores at the Mall at Fairfield Commons and Dayton Mall, along with both Beavercreek City Schools and Kettering City Schools on their redevelopments.

Historically, Danis has also worked on the Schuster Performance Art Center, the Kettering Tower, the Engineer’s Club and Victoria Theater’s renovation.


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